07.01.2020 - 07.01.2020 30 °C
No more train but on to a bus and a very elegant bus it was too as we leave Russia and continue west to Tallinn the capital of Estonia. We travelled with a lovely young Uni student who was studying linguistics and journalism in Moscow, he was also keen to talk about Russia and to hear about Australia and like most Russians we speak with he saw that life in Australia was much easier with the benefits that we have access to, hard to hear for some who feel that it is tough at the moment at home, but I think when I listen to them that they are right.
Crossing the boarder was again an ordeal having to get on and off the bus and take our luggage on and off repeatedly with all the instructions issued in Russian, in the midst of one of these a part of my suitcase broke, yes that new one, especially designed for international travel and with a 10 year warranty (and only 5 weeks into 13 weeks) !!! Trying to email Samsonite, will keep you posted
We have left Rubles behind and are now working with Euros and despite changing 1,000 Rubles for about 8 Euros, things in the free world are a lot more expensive. Our air B&B is a lovely little flat just perfect, although John did draw my attention to the absence of air-con
Tallinn is famous for its world heritage listed 'old town', the most complete intact Medieval town in all of Europe and it is definitely a well deserved listing. It is a port city on the Baltic and has been a very important link in trade routes since the 1300;s whilst in the mean time being ruled by many other national powers with a few attempts at independence along the way. Denmark, Sweden and Russia have been the chief conquerors with also a significant input from the German principalities ( even though Germany was a long way off becoming a nation in its own right at the time).
The Old Town covers a considerable area inside imposing city walls and operates as a regular city with homes, shops, eateries and other attractions whilst at the same time managing a large tourist population, boosted daily by large cruise ships unloading their passengers who have been enjoying their Baltic Sea cruise.
After exploring some of the Old town and sampling some yummy food, we headed off on a three hour bike tour, a highlight for John! Exploring the wider area of Tallinn, learning interesting history; so much about their ongoing struggle for independence from so many imposing powers. Estonians are also famous for their love of singing and singing played a powerful role in their struggle for independence from Russia in the late 80's. They have a long history of choral events and while we were in Tallinn there were many people from all over the world wearing lanyards showing that they were all in Tallinn for a singing festival
Estonia has a museum for just about everything and I mean everything, so we launched into a concerted program of immersing ourselves in the history of Estonia and Tallinn. Estonians have a very dry, self deprecating sense of humour which comes through so clearly in the little explanatory notes beside the exhibits. We also picked up a Tallinn Card which gave us access to many of the exhibitions and tram trips.
Peter the Great (remember him from St Petersburg) also loved Tallinn he built a palace as you do in Tallinn, his "holiday house" . We popped in to check it out, grand but on a smaller scale . Back in the old town we climbed up on the old city wall, fantastic views and, guess what, another museum. Great time